Professionals have been slow to realize the enormous value of the Internet as an advertising medium. Many have adopted e-mail and developed websites, but they don't know what to do with them. Every day, thousands of consumers and businesses search for professionals on the internet.
Major law firms will often spend thousands of dollars on a website, but hesitate to spend $295 on "Lawyers.com" or even $100 for a yearly listing at http://www.Attorneyfind.com Smaller firms, often spending less than $300 for a website, have been able to take great advantage of the opportunities left open by the large firms. Sole practitioners, with the help of good web designers, look like a "class act" to the Internet viewer. Here are some tips for those building a website: 1. Make the site simple and easy to navigate. Let visitors know the basic facts on the opening screen. 2. Avoid graphics that will slow down the loading of the site. Internet viewers are impatient and will not wait even a few seconds. There's no need for animation to catch attention. At this point, the viewer is ready for facts. 3. Place your e-mail address on the site, available for use by the viewer who loves to communicate by e-mail. 4. Read your e-mail regularly. Internet users expect prompt responses. For those wanting to take a step further and actually advertise on the internet (in addition to being on EVERY directory they can afford)heed these words of caution: The Internet goes to more than 60 million viewers WORLDWIDE. Therefore, target your ad to avoid useless messages from visitors you are unable to serve. While "key word" BANNERS on words would be too costly, you can place free listings on search engines. Use the name of your city or state in your promotion. For instance, you can list your firm high on a search engine at GoTo.com and pay only when someone clicks on your listing. A Clayton, Missouri law firm in the criminal law field should ask for listings on the words "Missouri crimes", "Clayton crime","Missouri arrest", etc. to make sure the responses are coming from the right potential clients. The search engines, where you can pay per "click-through" can be a marvelouis bargain. Don't expect a flood of traffic, but what you do get can be worthwhile. In some cases, a "click-through" can cost as little as a penny. Submit your site information to the major "search engines". There are many firms on the Internet that will do this for you without charge. Some advertise they will submit your name to 2,000 "search engines", but this may just generate 2,000 "thank you" messages, and little else. When you submit your website to search engines, make sure it has "metatags" that clearly show your categories of law and your location, so you have a chance to end up in the right spot. Ask your website designer to explain "metatags". Very few firms get high listings on "search engines" and the viewing public rarely goes beyond number 20. While there may be thousands listed in a category, the search engine will not let the viewer go beyond 500. Professionals should let the directories do the marketing and bring the highly targeted traffic to their site.
Donald B. Kramer is President of "Attorneyfind" at http://www.Attorneyfind.com It is an inexpensive and user-friendly site (spending heavily on banners and listings to bring heavy traffic to 4,500 listings).